Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The New Terror Walk

Harold is 72. He lives in Blackpool but comes from Oldham - and he hasn't lost his accent. Its broad, but in a sophisticated way. He is very fit. He walks every day, usualy 6-10 miles, and is a walking holiday guide for HF Holidays. He was our guide on our walking holiday in Italy.

We walked the 70+ KM from Bonosola to Le Spezia over the course of a number of days. The walk includes the Cinque Terra (five villages), which we did in a day. Some of the walk is tough, especially the last section (Riomaggiore to La Spezia) where we scrambled, struggled on very narrow paths and had a difficult scree based descent. But it was worth it. Each day we did some 2500+ feet of "up" - sometimes tough "up" - and pushed our legs up many many steep steps or difficult up.

Our guide - Harold - was wonderful. His Italian accent wasn't. When he introduced the walk it was the "Chinky Terror" (sounds like the Chinese Al Quida). The village of Vernazza became Venessa and Sistri Levanti became Central Lavanto - but he was fun, tolerant and very generous with his spirit of care and kindness. A treat of a man. Made the pain seem worthwhile.

As for the views from various parts of the journey, they are simply stunning - its no wonder they call this region the Italian Riviera. We ended our week in Liguria in Portofino - a quaint, small harbour made glorious by up-scale shops. classy restaurants and very nice atmosphere. Just a week later, Rod Stewart and his new bride Penny Lancaster celebrated their wedding (which was held just up the coast on his boat) at a select function at Brown's in Portofino.

From the Cinque Terra we went on to Umbria and stayed near Assisi in a very nice cottage overlooking a fantastic view. We used this is a base to tour around = Perugia was very nice.

Good to have a break. Nice to spend quality time with Lynne.

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